BROOKINGS, S.D., Aug. 20, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Daktronics, Inc. (Nasdaq:DAKT) today reported fiscal 2014 first quarter net sales of $138.7 million and net income of $5.7 million, or $0.13 per diluted share, compared to net sales of $132.9 million and net income of $6.7 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2013. Fiscal 2014 first quarter orders were $159.3 million compared to $173.5 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2013. Backlog at the end of the fiscal 2014 first quarter was $167 million, compared with a backlog of $164 million a year earlier and $141 million at the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013. Free cash flow, defined as cash provided by operations less net purchases of property and equipment, was $(8.6) million for the first three months of fiscal 2014, compared to $15.2 million for the same period in fiscal 2013. Cash and marketable securities at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2014 were $46.8 million, which compares to $64.7 million at the end of fiscal 2013 and $63.9 million at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2013. "We are pleased with our success in booking orders during the quarter. Last year's first quarter was a record level of orders, so it is a tough comparable. We were able to achieve a higher level of sales, and also ended with a slightly higher backlog as compared to the fiscal 2013 first and fourth quarters," said Jim Morgan, president and chief executive officer. Gross profit levels were lower compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2013 due to inherent variability in gross profit levels typical with large projects. Operating expenses in the fiscal 2014 first quarter increased slightly as a percentage of sales to 19.4 percent.